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County leader withdraws unitary proposal

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A planned vote on whether to launch a consultation on creating a single unitary across Nottinghamshire will no longer take place this week, after the county leader withdrew the proposal.

Kay Cutts (Con) today said she had taken the decision following a meeting with district leaders and chief executives last week.

A meeting of Nottinghamshire’s full council was on Thursday set to consider the outline business case for reorganisation which included plans to abolish the county’s seven districts with a view to saving £27m a year.

Today Cllr Cutts said: “Everyone knows I believe that the current system of local government is unsustainable. Our outline business case supports my view that there is a better way to plan and deliver services for local people who pay for them out of their taxes.

“However, I accept that my view is not universally supported. After meeting with district council leaders and chief executives and after much reflection, I have decided to withdraw the outline business case from Thursday’s county council meeting.”

Cllr Cutts described last week’s meeting as “productive”, adding the districts and chief executives are willing to work with the county to deliver services but more time was needed to consider the options.

“I have listened to all the voices on my own and opposition benches and decided to pause and take more time to reflect,” she said. “Nonetheless there is no simple solution to the significant financial challenges we face and savings will still have to be made to close the funding gap. We will need to consider radical solutions and not just look at back office functions.”

Cllr Cutts said these options include the following:

  • Harmonising bin collections for economies of scale
  • One organisation providing trading standards and environmental health services across the county
  • Housing provision to ensure it meets the needs of a growing elderly and disabled population
  • Whether councils could merge.

A further update report will be considered by the policy committee “in due course”.

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